tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC March 23, 2018 12:00am-1:00am PDT
thank you so much for being here with us and good night from nbc news headquarters here in new york. good evening from new york. major breaking news that has a lot of people very worried. president trump naming john bolton, the former u.n. ambassador known for his extreme and inflexible foreign policy views to the most senior national security post inside the white house. trump tweeting a short time ago, i'm pleased to announce effective april 9th, 2018, ambassador john bolton will be my national security adviser. i'm very thankful for the service of general h.r. mcmaster who has done an outstanding job and will always remain my friend. there will be an official contact handover on 4/9. mcmaster was seen within the foreign policy establishment as someone who could potentially constrain some of the president's worst impulses. he had argued, for instance,
against tearing up the nuclear deal with iran without a plan for what follows. john bolton is the opposite of a constraining figure. the longtime fox news fixture has called for the u.s. to declare war on north korea and iran. even within conservative circles he's viewed as one of the most radical, hawkish foreign policy figures in the country. joining me now, msnbc contributor steve clemons, and steve, i wanted to talk to you immediately as this news happened because i think i met you first back in 2005 when you -- >> bolton watch. >> you were the person, you were the leader of the john bolton resistance. there was a broad idealogical coalition to stop his nomination to be the u.n. ambassador. it was successful. they ultimately had to recess appoint him. you led that effort. why did you do it then and what is your reaction today? >> i did it then because george bush had beaten john kerry in an election, and george bush had gone to brussels and given a speech that said we needed to
get out of this unilateral this moment, we needed to think about restoring our partnerships and our trust with other nations, and i gave president bush a lot of credit for that speech. i got a lot of heat for that. moments later, after that, he nominated john bolton to serve as our ambassador to the united nations. and i couldn't believe it, and i felt so betrayed by the moment. and i felt -- i had known john bolton, had been focused on his positions on north korea for many years. had watched him as he was assistant secretary for international security. and arms control. and just was very familiar with him. i probably knew as much if not more about john bolton than anyone in washington. and i just thought it really was a fragile moment. and the other thing is that just like today, republicans controlled the house, the senate, and the white house. and i felt as if there was an opportunity to split republicans on what a principled american internationalism meant. and john bolton was the antithesis of that. >> you were successful because
bolton's views are so extreme. is it fair to call them extreme? >> that's right. there were people like george voinovich, lincoln chafee, lisa murkowski. while they didn't take overt steps, they had real problems with bolton and how he was known to sort of take raw intelligence, not intelligence that had been processed through the system, and try to use it to justify the ends. he was cooperating with dick cheney's office in leading probably the more renegade parts of the administration. and that was when he was serving under colin powell. there were a lots of splits and divisions within the administration. a lot of split and divisions within the republican party. he was beaten not by democrats. he was beaten by republicans. republicans who did not want to see that person define what american internationalism was. he did get a recess appointment. that's how democracy works. but he did not go to the u.n. with power and a mandate. and that was very important. but unfortunately in this role, this is not a senate-confirmed role he's gone for, so he will be able to take this position. >> what does that mean?
>> well, that means that the president -- my concerns about ambassador bolton, and i try to treat him respectfully. he has served the country, but we have different views. but john bolton is known to try to fire people who disagree with him. not to act as the convener of alternative and contending views. the national security adviser of the united states, that role is to process different agencies, different views, and structure decision making processes to give the president the best information and options possible. if your national security adviser comes loaded and biased with a perspective, and squelches out who disagree with that perspective, then you begin sissy railroads toward dangerous actions. you see bandwagoning in the white house towards dangerous decisions. we already know john bolton's views which may not reflect the president's, but let's take a preemptive strike at north korea, at iran. i remember when he was engaged in, you know, the call for a pre-emptive strike against cuba
for their meningitis b labs down there, concern they were about to engage in a big biowarfare attack. >> he wanted us to strike cuba before they could release by weapons on us? >> he was worried about cuba releasing bioweapons in what turned out to be a meningitis b laboratory. it was a ridiculous moment. >> this is a moment of particular peril. the iran deal is coming up for renewal. we know bolton hates it, despises it, and apparently negotiations with north korea, which bolton says he's happy to have negotiations because then they can fail and then we can go to war. how dangerous is this? >> i think it's very dangerous. i think the world was fragile before this happened. i think it's much more fragile today. and i think that when you look at what the president's concerns are, have been with rex tillerson, with h.r. mcmaster and others, a lot has had to do with their views on the iran deal. if there's any foreshock, general foreshock that the united states is withdrawing from the jcpoa or the iran deal,
this is it. i suspect now in may we're going city a very different split. that's going to have enormous ramifications for our trance atlantic relationship with our european partners and a lot to do with the kind of diplomacy if you want to call it that, that we're going to see from the white house because it's going to be much more hard edged. i should also add another dimension which has not hit the press. a couple of john bolton's closest associates are people like pam gellar, frank gaffney, who have been leading the islamophobic charges against people in the department and even people in this administration. there's going to be a very vile pugnaciousness that if it wasn't already there enough, it's going to be much more in the coming tenure of john bolton. >> steve clemons, thanks for your time tonight. >> thank you, chris. >> democratic senator chris murphy, connecticut, is a member of the senate committee on foreign relations. he joins me now. your reaction to this news? >> i can't imagine a more reckless, more dangerous pick.
i can't say it any better than steve clemons. the idea that the person whose first in and first out of the oval office on national security measures and matters openly roots for pre-emptive war against north korea and iran with no congressional vote, is, you know, just incredibly troubling. to think about a president who is desperate to try to turn the news away from the myriad of scandals under which he is buried is going to have someone who is going to eagerly recommend to him that you go around congress and start what could be catastrophic war with north korea and iran. you know, it's something that we should all be super concerned about right now. >> i just want to -- in case people think you're being hyperbolic in the views you're ascribing to john bolton, i want to be clear. this is the op-ed in the "wall street journal," february 28th, the legal case for striking north korea first. that by-line there, john bolton. this is him in the "new york times" on iran in 2015, to stop iran's bomb, bomb iran. so those are quite frankly his views.
i want to play you what he has said about iran in particular, because this is something you have spent a lot of time thinking about and talking about, the iran deal, and preserving it and protecting it from its many enemies. here's what john bolton had to say about iran and regime change. >> the president should get out of the nuclear deal with iran. should resume all of our previous sanctions, putting increased economic pressure on the regime. we should provide material financial support to the opposition, if they desire it. we should work with intelligence services from other countries, saudi, israel, to provide more pressure. there's a lot we can do, and we should do it. our goal should be regime change in iran. >> what do you think of that? >> so let's be very clear about what he's talking about. talking about the united states being involved militarily in the overthrow of the iranian
government. if you want chaos in the middle east that makes like what happened in iraq and syria seem as if child's play, then get the united states involved in an effort to militarily overthrow the iranian regime. what he is talking about is nonsense. the idea that the united states could reapply economic pressure when none of our european partners are going to go with us is pure fiction. at a time when the united states and europe are separating because of trump's rhetoric, pulling out of the iran agreement would make that even more catastrophic. the idea he would be recommending to the president that the united states either engage in pre-emptive military strikes against iran or try to foment revolution from within would be catastrophic for u.s. national security. >> there's additional context here, and i wanted to get your thoughts on this. there is a struggle in the region between basically saudi arabia and uae and this sort of access they have, and allied really with israel, that view iran as a sort of regional threat, and they have been
fighting proxy wars in yemen, proxy wars in the american press. i mean, it is everywhere you can look, this sort of battle. and the forces that are the most anti-iran are very aligned with jared kushner. we have reporting about attempts to essentially co-opt, to possibly use investment opportunities. do you have concerned essentially they're watching a sort of successful operation by a foreign government to push the u.s. in one direction? >> well, listen, it's hard to imagine this administration being any more in the pocket of saudi arabia. they have given them an absolute blank check in the region. and proposed a massive record-breaking military sale to the saudis. but when you look at the combination of mike pompeo, who has been historically very hawkish on iran and very supportive of the saudis and john bolton, you know, you can see a united states getting even more deeply involved in this disastrous war in yemen. we just got 44 vote in the
senate the other day to pull the united states fully out of a war that has killed 10,000 yemeni civilians, and the people that are now being installed in the national security cabinet may be proposing to get the united states even more deeply involved in that conflict. >> i want to ask you about another piece of news, and i don't know if you have seen this. but it strikes me as important. it's a piece in the daily beast that basically says that guccifer 2.0, which was this sort of online persona that was sort of shopping leaks around for a while, and i think assumed to be a third party or cut-out who was in touch with military intelligence was a gru officer. that just a straight up gru officer was guccifer 2.0, who was interacting with roger stone and others in direct contact with the trump campaign. >> i haven't seen that report. >> i haven't seen that report. i'm sure that will be part and parcel of mueller's review. but listen, we have known for a very long time that the potential -- the attempted manipulation of both elections
in the united states and europe has come with direction from the top levels of russian leadership. it shouldn't be news that this is directed from the highest levels of the kremlin. that's why ultimately 13 people got wrapped up in mueller's investigation already with russian connections. and let's remember that john bolton in 2016, coming back to and let's remember that john bolton in 2016, coming back to him, was one of the individuals out there casting doubt on whether the russians were actually trying to affect our election. he has been a cheerleader for this idea that there is some question as to whether or not russia was involved. and he will be feeding those instincts of the president when he walks into the oval office. >> that is an excellent point. final question on north korea. obviously, this happens. you have the iran deal, you have north korea, which john bolton
is in writing advocating a first strike on, which estimates are there could be 100,000 casualties in first 30 minutes if something like that happened, and then a summit with kim jong-un in a month. what does this mean for that? >> well, maybe a summit. i mean, we're not sure if that's happening. and you know, our worst case fear was always that trump was going to go into this summit with the north korean leader unprepared. he was going to walk out with nothing, and then he was going to wipe his hands of diplomacy and move towards a military strike. and so now that he has someone who has been openly cheerleading for that strike, it raises the possibility that that is exactly how this is going to go. and let's just be clear about how extreme john bolton's views are. what he says in that piece is that the president has the power to launch a military strike against north korea because the mere possession of serious strong weaponry by the north koreans presents an imminent threat against the united states. not necessitating congressional approval. if that's the case, then any country that has weapons that
could potentially hit the united states in the future can be attacked by the president without a congressional vote. that is a pandora's box that has no end to it. >> we should note that piece that the senator is citing is february 28th of this year. that's not an old view of john bolton. that was published, i guess, less than a month ago. three weeks ago. senator chris murphy, always a great pleasure. >> thanks. joining me now, richard painter, who served as white house chief ethics lawyer under george w. bush, and sam seder, host of majority report and longtime john bolton watching critic. richard, i saw you tweet something about bolton when his name was surfaced as something like someone who was the most dangerous person in the bush administration with you. >> i didn't work with him, but i talked to people who worked with him, and he's not only a hawk. he is extremely reckless. he wants to go to war first. diplomacy second. i didn't understand why we sent him over to the u.n. because i thought he was supposed to try
diplomacy at the u.n., and he didn't do very well over there. that was a disaster. but having him as the national security adviser could really be a terrible situation, put us into a nuclear war. he could go after north korea, and that would result in millions of people being killed. and i wouldn't put it beyond him to try to drag china or russia into it. and then in the middle east, he's trying to go after iran and get us more deeply involved in the middle east. it's been over 16 years since 9/11. we have been in the middle east. we have fought the iraq war, the afghanistan war. i think the vast majority of the american people want our soldiers to come home from the middle east. we have done what we can over there. and john bolton is going to go
the exact opposite direction and get us into even more trouble in the middle east. and he's just the wrong person. and on top of that, i have to say that despite all the criticism people can make of president bush, he was a man with a level head. he would at least listen to different perspectives before making decisions. and donald trump just flies by the seat of his pants. and he tweets out this and says that and the other thing. we don't know what donald trump is going to do. he's a hothead. and then you put a hothead into the national security job. and it is a recipe for a war. and that's a very bad situation. on top of, of course, this trade war that president trump is accelerating, sending the stock market down in the toilet. >> well, with all due respect to president george w. bush, we have john bolton today because george w. bush appointed him during a recess appointment
because a republican senate found this guy to be too extreme, even to be an ambassador to the united nations, where you do not have some type of authority over the broad national security apparatus. >> the entire national security process in the white house. >> we're doing this also at a time, let's remember, our state department has been gutted. >> yep. >> pompeo may have been chosen as the nominee, but he's not necessarily the one who's going to be confirmed or has been confirmed. but even if he is, there is -- we have, i think, like of the nine top positions in the state department, maybe two or three of those are filled at this point. so there's no pushback of any of
this. and so this is, i think, very broadly catastrophic. i mean, has the opportunity -- >> really? >> i really do think so. i am not convinced these things that are happening with trump in terms of the russia investigation and what could possibly happen on a national security front are necessarily in separate silos. >> a very good point. >> a long-standing practice of administrations using national security crises, creating crises to avoid some domestic problems. and so i think this is extremely dangerous. i would also add to the long line of things that john bolton has called for, he's also has a domino type theory for central latin america that he built during the reagan administration. i would also add this is a guy who is a member of the project for new american century, which was the bedrock of the neo conservative movement, which according to candidate donald trump was very problematic in regards to iraq. but you know, it's clear he's untethered and there's no one there to push back against this stuff. >> richard, this position is a very -- you worked in the white house, obviously, in the white house counsel's office, not the nsc, but the position is a very powerful one. it is a person that is
essentially coordinating, if i'm not mistaken, right, the process by which the president makes national security decisions. >> yes. it is. it's a very important position. and when it comes to making a decision about whether to go to war, whether to attack north korea, whether to attack iran, or launch some other military operation, the national security adviser is going to be a very important part of that decision making process. and if you have someone like general mcmaster in there, you have someone who understands our military capability and the limitations on our military capability. and also can explain to the president the likely casualties that will ensue on the battlefield and for civilians. you have someone who is a hothead like bolton who just, you know, everything for him is theoretical, and he has all these theoretical constructs that have nothing to do with reality.
he's going to encourage the president to go to war. yes, president trump is looking for a distraction. and there's only so much sex stuff on tv we're going to listen to. and now he's going to want to start a war in order to distract us from bob mueller. that's what's going on. i agree with that conclusion. those are not two unrelated issues. >> i would add that this is a guy who in his first national security briefing, was asking why can't we just keep -- why can't we just use nukes? so his baseline is to be, i think, sort of susceptible to something bolton is saying. and frankly, to the extent he's getting other advice at this point, i'm not convinced it's mostly sean hannity. and i'm not saying that facetiously. >> i think that's -- i think the fate of the omnibus, how was covered on fox and friends, the fate of whether we go to war
could be in the hands of whoever he's watching. >> make no mistake, there's not going to be any other mcmasters who join the administration. this is it, and every bit of house cleaning he did on the national security council, we're going to get back those people plus worse, i think. >> that's the other question, who does he bring into the important nsc. richard painter and sam seder, thanks for spending time with us. >> ahead, more on tonight's breaking news. trump's decision to put john bolton in the white house, replacing h.r. mcmaster. >> and the other major departure today. trump's top lawyer in the russia probe resigns. as a faceoff between trump and mueller looms. that's after this two-minute break. you know what's awesome? gig-speed internet.
you know what's not awesome? when only certain people can get it. let's fix that. let's give this guy gig- really? and these kids, and these guys, him, ah. oh hello. that lady, these houses! yes, yes and yes. and don't forget about them. uh huh, sure. still yes! xfinity delivers gig speed to more homes than anyone. now you can get it, too. welcome to the party. the president's legal team is unraveling. as the mueller investigation bears down, the president faces numerous legal battles over sex scandals and conflicts of interest. he's losing the one person on his legal team with experience as an experienced legal attorney. john dowd resigned today, saying i love the president, i wish him the best of luck.
i think he has a really good case. with dowd's departure, the president of the united states is now being represented by two attorneys who are known primarily as right wing activists and media pundits. jay sekulow runs a legal nonprofit and he takes shots at federal investigators. while joe digenova spouts conspiracy theories about the deep state on tv. >> there was a brazen plot to illegally exonerate hillary clinton and if she didn't win the election, to then frame donald trump with a falsely created crime. the fbi and senior doj officials conspired to violate the law and to deny donald trump his civil rights. >> first of all, no evidence of that. second of all, if they wanted to do that, they could have just leaked that the president's campaign was being investigated
by the fbi, which they never did. that's who now has to go toe to toe with robert mueller and his team of some of the top prosecutors in the country. john dowd's departure comes as the president takes an increasingly aggressive approach against robert mueller, following a report that he subpoenaed his business, demanding documents about russia. it also comes in the midst of negotiations over a face-to-face encounter with trump and mueller. which dowd tried to limit as much as possible. the president claimed once again he's eager to face down the special counsel. >> mr. president, would you still like to testify to special counsel robert mueller? >> i would. >> you would like to? >> i would like to. >> neil, what the significance of this move to your mind? >> well, i think it is very significant. it really just underscores, i think, the fundamental problem, which is the president's legal team is ever shifting. i mean, o.j. had effectively the dream team, and donald trump has effectively the nightmare team. the opposite. i don't mean to besmirch the
fine lawyers who joined his team recently, it's just this is a major criminal investigation. and his lawyers just keep on switching with every heartbeat. >> there's a funny part of the dowd quote. which said i think he has a really strong case. that struck me. it's like, there's no case yet. right? it was -- i don't know if it was a tell or not, but it was interesting to hear that from him, he has a really strong case, as if he's someone who has already been indicted and about to face a jury. >> it did suggest there's in his mind, more there. the problem with trump, everyone who works around him comes to realize that donald trump does not -- donald trump does not believe in the rule of law. donald trump believes in the rule of trump. and that's why you see these ever shifting changes all the time. and look, i think the president should have good legal counsel. i think it's the dream of any lawyer to represent the president of the united states. that's the greatest calling you could have. and yet, he's had a lot of trouble finding anyone to represent him. >> that's what's so striking
here. you have ted olson, who is a legal all star. probably, i don't know, one of the top conservative litigators in the entire country. he declined to represent the president. another report says that four big firms, defense attorneys law firms approached to join trump's legal defense team have turned him down. why do you think that is? >> i believe very much that everyone should have a right to a defense. and you know, it's a very strong belief of mine. look, i represented bin laden's driver. i would have trouble representing donald trump. the reason for that is very simple, which is, you know, the guy doesn't believe in the rule of law. and so when you talk about the ted olsons of the world or others, i can't speak for his specifically, but that's a natural thing to worry about on behalf of your client. is he someone who actually is going to tell the truth, is he
going to be straight up, or is he going to put you the lawyer in jeopardy? >> what do you mean by that? >> well, i think just look at even what happened just recently with dowd saying, oh, mueller should be fired, and then having to backtrack on that. this was on saturday. you know, you don't know exactly what trump has done, what the lawyer has done in the like. there have been other times when dowd has taken the fall for stuff that looks like it was trump's. we don't know, but things like who wrote the account of the russia meeting on the plane and the like. it's a tough thing to be a donald trump lawyer, which is why they keep on rotating around like bananas. >> sometimes it's hard to tell if -- it's always hard to tell past the spin and anonymous leaks about what's what, but the picture of the reporting we have is that dowd was concerned about the mueller face-off, wanted to limit the scope. the president really wants to talk to him. i don't know if that's true, but what is your sense of where those negotiations are at and what impact this has on them? >> look, we don't know. we're just reading leaks in the newspaper and the like. mueller obviously has the upper hand.
if he wants to get the president to testify, you know, he can subpoena him, and the president also certainly is going to have to. so the lawyers have been engaged in, at least according to the leaks, a variety of kind of ridiculous strategies like, oh, i'll send you some documents, mr. mueller, if you promise to limit your inquiry. that's, you know, a joke. no responsible prosecutor is going to go along with that. and really, you know, the difference here is that the legal team by mueller is really truly the dream team. and trump is running this kind of o.j.-like strategy of attack the prosecutor, attack the prosecutor for being biased, but this is mueller, who is, you know, a very decorated and legendary prosecutor appointed by a republican president after republican president. >> there's then the question about obstruction and the terrain upon which this interview will happen. it really does seem to me that whatever the underlying possibilities or facts bear out about collusion or not collusion, there's a kind of prima fascia case for obstruction. doesn't mean he committed it, but the reporting on the things they want to talk about in the
interview would suggest that's something that mueller has front of mind and the president has a lot of exposure on. does that track to you? >> 100%. just from the public reporting we know, this looks like a duck, smells like the duck, it very well may be a duck. and mueller has the experience and the gravitas to bring that to light. >> do you think there is an out here for the president? >> well, apart from resignation, i'm not really sure. i think this looks very bad for the president. and this is an astounding thing. we're talking about the president of the united states being, you know, possibly accused of conspiring or members of his team to manipulate, you know, the most sacred thing to us, which is our electoral system. >> neil, thank you for your time. >> thank you. after this break, with trump's legal team unraveling, his national security adviser leaving, i'll speak with two well sourced white house reporters on what is happening in the west wing. that's next.
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the "wall street journal" tweeted, washington day in summary. trump lawyer quits, new trade penalties announced, stock market drops 700 points, national security adviser departs. i'm joined by two of the first reporters to break some of today's major reports. carol and michael schmidt, "new york times," both of whom are msnbc contributors. michael, i'll start with you. what is going on over there? >> well, in many ways, i don't think it's that surprising. the president had a lot of turmoil during his campaign. three campaign managers. had a lot of turmoil at the white house. two chiefs of staff, a bunch of turnover at the senior levels there. so when we saw the things happen, the legal team in the past few days, i didn't find it that surprising. this is a president who thrives on chaos. people underneath him tend to mimic his behavior. and that's what we have seen play out. so it didn't strike me as that unusual to see such a dramatic thing where the president's lead lawyer, the second lead lawyer
he's had in the special counsel's investigation, is now moving on at such a critical juncture when they have to decide whether the president is going to sit down and speak to mueller. >> carol, there are these two schools of thought on the president's behavior. there's sort of cunning and canny and full of guile sort of, you know, crazy like a fox. and then there's impulsive and unable to control himself. and i wonder about these moves. they are set against a backdrop of a remarkable array of legal troubles. i mean, you've got two, three lawsuits you're currently staring down from various women. and mueller, and whether essentially this is an attempt to change the conversation or this is a response to the pressure with the kind of chaos that he thrives on. >> well, i think one thing mike said is so true. we are becoming kind of inured to chaos and drama. and the fact that two prominent people around the president and important in his life and in his protection legally are gone. all in one day.
however, i would say that some of these cards really weren't in the president's hands to play. john dowd essentially resigned, fed up this morning, according to the reporting that we've done. and now, the president is in an awkward situation because the chaos he seems to create makes him one of the most unattractive legal clients possible. you know, as neil said earlier, he represented bin laden's lawyer. there were a ton of blue chip law firms going to represent all sorts of guantanamo detainees and terrorists suspects, but as we reported tonight in a story that just posted, there are multiple law firms basically saying we don't want our people representing the president of the united states. because it's just too controversial. and the lawyers are saying it's a clients that may not listen to
them. >> yeah, and he's had a hard time. he's burned through lawyers in the past. he's notoriously been involved and embroiled in litigation on both sides in every direction. michael, do you think with the bolton news, i think there's a sort of desire to try to put these frameworks of sort of ideology or substance on personnel moves. i wonder how sort of explanatory that is in this case. >> i'm not sure how much the president's ideology actually drives these decisions. i think the president is someone that is very interested in loyalty, personality, folks that he sees on tv. that's what you see in bolton, someone who's been on fox news many times during the president's time in office. he's never really gone after the president. he sort of supported him. and you see that in the legal team. joe digenova, someone on fox news who has pushed conspiracy theories about what the fbi manufacturing evidence to go after donald trump. so i see this more as about the
president's personality than his beliefs. i don't think that the president looks add joe digenova's view of executive power and the unitary executive and whether the president's actions in terms of obstruction were within those lanes. i think that he sees someone who will be out there on cable news pushing his views. >> i mean, let's be clear here. the president watches a lot of tv. he gets a lot of his ideas and advice from tv. this is something i want to play, carol, for you. this was all the way back in the summer of 2015. he just started running. and he was asked about who he seeks for military advice. this is what he said. take a listen. >> who do you talk to for military advice right now? >> well, i watch the shows. i mean, i really see a lot of great, you know, when you watch your show and all of the other shows, and you have the generals, and you have certain people -- >> but is there somebody, a go-to for you? >> probably there are two or three. >> every presidential candidate has a go-to. >> probably there are two or three.
i like bolton. tough cookie, knows what he's talking about. >> that's the foreshadowing in the first act of this play. the president likes john bolton because he sees him on tv and thinks he's a good cookie. that seems like as good a explanation of this move as any. >> yes and no. the president has also made choices based on his gut. he's a person who really trusts his gut. i agree with mike, too, about the lack of necessarily an idealogical drive here. it's his instinct. and i think at some point in the last several weeks, the president has become really frustrated by the fact that this probe is not really wrapping up by thanksgiving or december or january. and it's continuing. and his view is his counselors have told him it was going to all be hunky-dory if he cooperated. and it's not in that situation. so his gut is telling him, let's change the horses. and he tried to add some people, and he irritated dowd along the way. on mcmaster, he wanted to change
horses, too, primarily because, and remember, this is a president who doesn't like being boxed in and told what to do. both mcmaster and dowd were in different ways telling the president you're wrong. listen to me. here's my advice to you. and the writing wads on the wall that that wasn't going to last. those relationships were not going to work out. >> you know, we've got some nbc news reporting that at some point the president floated the idea of firing his chief of staff and not replacing him. he would be his own chief of staff. michael, your colleague maggie haberman has been talking about the president has this feeling that he's sort of mastered the job. all these people who were there were boxing him in telling him you can't do that. thee thinks i got it figured out. i've been doing this. does that jive with your reporting? is that what you think? >> it's the idea that the president is emboldened here. he's one of the few people that is still there that was there
during the campaign, that has been in office the entire time. so he feels that he's waited out these folks who tried to box him in, and he thinks he knows what he's doing. he has a feel for the job, more confidence in his decisions. he can go forward without having to listen to these people that have deep expertise. you have to remember with the president, he believes he is his best spokesman, his best national security adviser, and his best lawyer. and as these investigations intensify, these foreign policy questions become more severe, my guess is the president will revert to those things. and will go with his gut. >> if you have read any history of anyone here, any presidents in the u.s. or leaders across the world throughout human civilization, leaders who don't like people who tell them no and trust their gut and think they know best always work out very well in the end. carol and michael, great to have you both. still ahead, an nbc documentary event 50 years after the assassination of martin luther king jr., i'll talk with
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for fast pain relief. tylenol® thing 1 tonight, remember when donald trump just made up a nickname for someone on the spot during the state of the union? >> here tonight is one leader in the effort to defend our country, homeland security investigation special agent celistino martinez. he goes by dj and cj he said call me either one. >> the cj or dj issue was not resolved but the special agent's name is celistino martinez, and he goes by cj. agent cj martinez, not dj. but he might have to go by dj for the rest of his life because that's what the president called him. the good news for dj or cj is
okay, so the trump organization's a family business. named after its founder, donald j. trump and ron by his sons, donald trump jr. and eric trump. but here's the thing. not all companies are run by people whose last name is the same as the company name. take for example lockheed martin. a major defense contractor worth over $90 billion, which builds every from intercontinental ballistic missiles to stealth fighting jets. their ceo is not a lockheed or a martin. the first woman to crack the top ten highest paid ceos in the s&p 500. her name is marillyn hewson and she was at the white house for donald trump's announcement of new tariffs on chinese goods.
>> i might ask marillyn lockheed, the leading woman's business executive in this country, according to many, and we buy billions and billions of dollars worth of that beautiful f-35. it's stealth. you cannot see it, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> better be correct. marillyn, please say a few words. >> marillyn hewson, again, the ceo of lockheed martin. playing it off graciously, like dj or cj, whichever it is. she did not correct the president about her last name or job title. which is just what you have to do when this president decides that your name is something that it is not. >> marillyn lockheed. the leading woman's business executive in this country, according to many.
sacramento police released body cam footage of the shooting of stephen clark responding to a 911 call sunday about a person vandalizing cars in a neighborhood and a sheriffs helicopter identified the man and the confrontation between two police officers and stephen clark took just seconds. a warning, this video is disturbing. >> show me your hands! [ gunshots ]. >> shots fired, suspect down. >> he's down, he's not moving. we can't see the gun. >> that's because clark was not holding a gun. he was holding a cell phone. police fired 20 shots. clark's grandmother said it was
normal for clark and others to enter the home from the backyard because the front doorbell doesn't work. stephen clark was 22 years old survived by his fiancee and two children and his family says it wants officers. the officers are on paid leave pending on investigation and as police shootings come under heightened security because of video evidence in part, a documentary about martin luther king looks at the relationship between the media and the self rights movement. >> the body of michael brown laying on that ground for four and a half hours shocked america back into it's consciousness once again. it woke so many people up that thought emit was a figure of the past and not a relevant figure of the present. emmet teal is michael brown and tamir rice and sandra. the movement and media to air on nbc and msnbc on march 25th,
9:00 p.m. it's a fantastic piece of work and one of the opening pieces is talking about castile. what is the project of this documentary weaving together in the struggle for racial justice. >> thanks for having us, chris. we really appreciate it. we were tasked with telling a story of how the media impacted the civil rights movement 50 plus years ago and it occurred to us that the media still plays a role in addressing issues of justice and racial injustice and so it seemed to us to be a natural kind of connection to talk about present day and the past and the task was challenging only in that it's
hard to weave together 50 years of history, but at the end of the day, you know, the correlations were greater than we had hoped. >> i want to play this clip of martin luther king and one of the things and taylor branch chronology and all the three volumes, one of the things that comes through there is just the savviness of king and the intentionally about the media and that's something you guys do a good job of illustrating in the documentary. here is a clip, take a listen. >> you are god's children. we ain't going to let nobody turn us around. >> one of the reasons why martin luther king was so successful was he understood television. we deliberately had demonstrations before 12:00 in order to get the film to new york, they had to leave by 1:00. >> we cannot in all good
conscience obey such an injection. >> dr. king and his staff were very, very savvy. they knew exactly what was going on. >> you want me to just make a statement and not interview -- you don't want to interview? >> you got it. >> and they strategize how to use their coverage to their advantage. >> racial, i love that fourth wall moment with dr. king. it sort of talking about the mechanics of how you talk to the press, is this off the record? is this an avail? because it shows we get him through this sort of film sort of iconic look but there is someone who very much knew what he was going to talk to the american public through this meeting. >> absolutely. dr. king was really, he's so one-dimensionalized by history and i have to confess i was astonished at how much i learned in the course of making the film about how sophisticated he was and how much he played the
media. you know, that's not a cynical thing. that's one more example of his genius but there are these moments we captured in our material that were just fantastic where you see him, especially in the early days when he's 26 and at the montgomery busboy and awkward and nervous and doesn't know how to beat the press. it's interesting to see evolution. >> do you think there is a relationship the way that movement worked in the predominance of the media and television and network television which had a tremendously wide audience, right? to now when you have a far, far more sort of bulk media land scrape and the way in which a movement can and can't talk to a wide swath of the american public. >> that's an interesting point. that's one fund mental difference when dr. king and the civil rights leaders of that era came of age, so came of age television.
>> right. >> today it's a much more sophisticated media and social media has taken really control over how activists, you know, control their message. so i think much like 50 years ago was important to control the narrative, now it's become increasingly difficult but ultimately, the control is in your own hands and cell phone footage like that, which you showed earlier, can go a long way in activating a base and people who are willing to stand up against what's wrong. >> rachel, what do you feel like you sort of learned the most or surprised you the most working on this project? >> how little has changed. the means of communication and mechanics of the media changed profoundly but the dynamics we're covering haven't changed nearly as much as one would hope or think and when you look at images from birmingham, alabama,
images from like ole miss or birmingham alabama next to images of ferguson. >> and parkland. >> and parkland, it's arresting and depressing to see how much symmetry there is and that i would say is where i unfortunately learned most in making the film. >> one of the things that i took away and something i've been thinking about and wrote a piece for think on the msnbc website is what comes after this moment where there are all these residences you so ably illustrated in "hope and furry" airing on nbc and msnbc. fantastic piece of work. thank you very much. >> thank you, chris. >> thanks for having us. >> again, the documentary is called "hope and furry, mlk the movement and the media." i was fortunate enough to be in it with familiar faces like joy reid.
the breaking news we're covering tonight, multiple shakeups in the trump administration. two men who were in his inner circle gone today. general h.r. mcmaster is out, john bolton's in as national security adviser. bolton, the man who called for attacks on both iran and north korea. plus, the president's lead russia lawyer suddenly resigns. we'll look at how that affects the fight with robert mueller. and the market down big over what the president did today on china. "the 11th hour" on a busy thursday night begins now. ♪ well, good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 427 of the trump